1950's Northern Electric Broadcast Tube Console

The most recent addition to Bova Lab's gear arsenal. I got this 60+ year old Canadian made tube console from a friend who's album I mastered early this year. I was truly astounded at how good his pre-mastered tracks sounded. He recorded it using the direct outputs of the mic preamps. This console has that sound of old tube era recordings. Although it's only a mono console (stereo hadn't been invented yet) summing tracks through it has more depth than pretty much anything else I've ever used. Can't wait to do an all tube four track mono recording with this thing. Looking under the hood reveals a plethora of tubes and the biggest audio transformers I've ever seen, each one almost the size of a Rubik's Cube. Beautifully built!

Here's a link to the same model of console preserved at the SPARC museum:



  • al soifer  •  January 02, 2017
    A similar but slightly smaller and transistorized version of this console was incorporated into a portable broadcast system, marketed by Northern Electric, that contained line amps, cuing amp and tiny speakers, and two McCurdy turntables. The console even included a feed for local PA amp/speakers, that was selectable as muted or partially reduced in level (feedback control), when the key announce mic was switched on. The same relay set would trigger an On-Air light, 110V AC and max of 60 watts.

    This was a versatile device, since the console could be unbuckled from the chassis (it sat just under and forward of of the turntables) and taken away as a stand-alone mic mixer for location broadcasting where the turntables weren't needed. I used this very robust piece of equipment at CKGM Montreal, CJAD Montreal, and CHSJ Saint John NB. Not many were produced since it was rather expensive, but radio stations who did lots of remotes depended on portable stuff like this to get up close and personal with audiences.
  • bob olivier  •  March 12, 2018
    I know these preamps very well. Each mic pre with proper in. and out. tran. should have 56 db output. ip impedance is 50/150 ohm... perfect for ribbons. Smoothest pre ever.... delicious! I have a McCurdy 8800 series board for sale if ever... 7 mic pres and 6 stereo strips
  • wally occomore  •  April 02, 2019
    It was known as a "Transportable Production Centre" and was designed and built at the Northern Electric plant in Belleville . Prototype testing was done at CJBQ. It was awkward to use and not very successful. The removable mixer predated the TPC and was incorporated to reduce the cost of development and to make it more versatile. That decision was the root cause of the awkward configuration. The last I heard one was in the Trenton CJBQ studios (I have a picture from 1965 if anyone's interested).
    It also served emergency duty at the transmitter site.

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